The Pride of Poland, Wojciech Weiss, retrospective; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

Old man, circa 1896

Old man, circa 1896

Self-Portrait with an Apple, 1897

Self-Portrait with an Apple, 1897

Springtime Landscape in Plaszów, 1897

Springtime Landscape in Plaszów, 1897

True, Wojciech Weiss (1875-1950) was a good and talented painter. But there have been and are many good and talented painters in this world.

Student, 1897

Student, 1897

Saddened, 1898

Saddened, 1898

The Gemeentemuseum grants us, the Dutch, even the non-Polish, a chance to enjoy a retrospective of Weiss, who is iconic in East European art history, according to the Gemeentemuseum.

Melancholic - Requiem, 1898

Melancholic – Requiem, 1898

Chopin, 1899

Chopin, 1899

He is compared to Mondrian and Kandinsky. Well, as such the exhibition is quite a disappointment.

Chopin, 1899

Chopin, 1899

Obsession, 1899-1900

Obsession, 1899-1900

The accent is particularly on his early works from 1897 to 1905. Only few paintings of a later date are on show and they are technically good but not really interesting in substance without more context.

The Painter's Parents, 1900

The Painter’s Parents, 1900

Self-Portrait, circa 1900

Self-Portrait, circa 1900

The comparison with Mondrian and Kandinsky is not substantiated at all. The present show leaves you with the idea of a painter who was good and promising as a youngster, but who apparently didn’t leave many footsteps that stick to the mind later on.

Boy among Poppies, circa 1901, reproduction from the original glass plate negative

Boy among Poppies, circa 1901, reproduction from the original glass plate negative

Study for Poppies, 1901

Study for Poppies, 1901

As a biographic exhibition it doesn’t seem to be very complete. As an art historical exhibition it should have shown more works of East European contemporaries to give some idea of his alleged iconic status.

Kiss amid Poppies, 1901

Kiss amid Poppies, 1901

Poppies, 1902

Poppies, 1902

Having said that, his early works are quite good and enjoyable and maybe you find them a good relief from Toorop’s ecstasies, which are also presently on show in the museum.

Poppies, 1902

Poppies, 1902

Renia Reading in Kalwaria, 1908

Renia Reading in Kalwaria, 1908

Crisis, 1934

Crisis, 1934

Also, the Dutch Polish community might be well served with this exhibition.

Farewell to the Academy, 1949

Farewell to the Academy, 1949

[Click on the pictures to enlarge]

Content of the pictures courtesy the Gemeentemuseum The Hague

 

Bertus Pieters

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